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Friday, March 7, 2014

Is Your Husband Obsolete?

Well, if he is, trading him in isn't an option. Sorry.

The large and rapid changes in technology over the last ten years or so have radically changed how we live, and how we interact with friends, family, and the world.

Women have, by and large, mastered those changes. men haven't.

This may be a surprise; men are supposed to be technically savvy, gadget-oriented, and hopelessly addicted to gee-charlie-whiz-bangs. Very true, and when something technical goes wrong with the computer in the living room, chances are your husband will find the problem and fix it (if it can be fixed).

Ditto for setting up the cables between the computer and the TV and the speakers, so the movies you stream will go direct to your monster plasma screen in the Home Theater Area. (Well, we don;'t have one of those either. We have a DVD player, and a small screen.)

Men are good at this sort of thing. Where they're hopeless is in using social networking apps to stay connected with the world.

More than half of the users of Facebook and Twitter are female. For Pinterest, the virtual scrapbooking site, it's close to 80%.

This isn't new. To fond a man, pre-Pinterest, who was interested in scrapbooking would have taken a lot of effort. And when one can say that Facebook and Twitter have to some degree supplanted phone calls, when was it that men tended to spend a lot of time on the phone with one another?

They'd meet at the coffee shop on the corner, or the golf course, or a bar. Socialization was done face to face. So was posturing, and the one-upsmanship games that men tend to play against one another.

It worked, perhaps not too well, up until recently. But now, wives are pulling ahead into a depth and breath of involvement that leaves their men on the outside, sullen and isolated.

Isolated by choice, definitely. Social media is not hard to learn, but most men won;'t make the effort...because they're already behind, and they don't want to acknowledge the perceived shame of trying to catch up with their wives.

Granted, there are other reasons for men to avoid social media. Many men simply don't want to socialize, and they feel that the content tends to triviality (which is dead wrong, by the way).

But the main reason is pride; the pride that prevents a man from doing something that his own wife can do better than he can. And so men forego the possibilities of new friendships, they give up on meeting like-minded comrades, all because of a bruised male ego.

What can you do?

First, try to engage him in your social media world - the part of it where he'll feel at home (you probably don't need to visit Downton Abbey-themed Pinterest boards, here).. Follow some Facebook pages that speak to his interests, and to your shared interests.

Planning a vacation? Many destinations now have their own pages.

Looking at a new car? All the major manufacturers appear on Facebook.

Make room. Physically. Rearrange your computer workspace so that you can sit together, uncrowded. Get a wide screen, and make sure the mouse is accessible to each.

Finally, limit yourself. Before all of this entered our lives, social 'media' was self-limiting, both in its technology and in the ways its presence was accepted. Some people could spend hours on the phone, but it was much more intrusive into family life than sitting in the computer corner, almost silently clicking away.

The ease with which the technology of social media has dovetailed into our daily lives has made it easy to spend an inordinate amount of time there. You're comfortable; you're involved; you're interested.

But is your husband?

Yes, he's interested...especially if the time you spend there makes him sullen and withdrawn.

He's interested in you, and he's feeling the loss.

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